Ludarac: Sometimes.

James: What does he do when he gets angry?

Ludarac: He grounds me.

James: Does he yell?

Ludarac: Yes, sometimes.

James: Does he threaten you?

Ludarac: Yes, but only with—

James: Does he hit you?

Ludarac: No, he—

James: Did he cut you?

Ludarac: No, he would—

James: You said that you don’t know who cut you. How do you know it wasn’t your father?

Ludarac: I don’t know, but he—

James: So your father could have been the one that cut you, is that what you are saying?

Ludarac: Maybe, but—

James: Was your father angry when Dallas Gaines, Jack Sitersin, Cullen Krast and Vincent Bates were set free?

Ludarac: Yes, but—

James: Did your father believe your family would burn in hell?

Ludarac: I don’t know.

James: Nothing further.

[CROSS EXAMINATION]

Harker: Wow. Sorry about Ms. James. I’ve known her for a few years now, and she can be, well, she can really be a word that rhymes with pitch.

James: Your Honor.

J: Congratulations, Mr. Harker. You just earned yourself a fine and a citation for contempt of court. The jury will disregard the previous remark.

Harker: I’ll be happy to pay it, Your Honor. I was just trying to cheer our witness up a bit after Ms. James’s display.

J: This isn’t group therapy, Mr. Harker. Get to your questions and do it now.

Harker: Kayla, how old are you?

Ludarac: Sixteen.

Harker: That’s only two years shy of being an adult in the court’s eyes. Do you understand what child abuse is?

Ludarac: Yes.

Harker: Do you believe you were the victim of child abuse?

Ludarac: No.

Harker: Was Cooper?

Ludarac: No.

Harker: Did your father cut you?

Ludarac: No. I tried to say so before, but she wouldn’t let me finish.

Harker: I’ll let you finish. How do you know it wasn’t your father?

Ludarac: I don’t know who or what it was that did it, but I know it couldn’t have been my dad.

Harker: Why not?

Ludarac: Whatever cut me didn’t hurt when it happened.

Harker: The cuts didn’t hurt?

Ludarac: They stung a lot afterwards, but they didn’t hurt when it was actually happening.

Harker: I’m sorry, Kayla. I still don’t understand. Can you describe how you were cut?

Ludarac: I went to bed, and I was fine, no cuts. When I woke up they were already all over me, but I wasn’t still being cut. Whatever did it didn’t wake me up while it was happening. I slept through it. It didn’t hurt until I woke up and they were already there.

Harker: And you don’t think it was your father that did it?

Ludarac: No.

Harker: Well something must have done it.

Ludarac: I tried to say, but she wouldn’t let me.

Harker: What did you try to say?

Ludarac: The house did it.

James: Objection.

J: Overruled

Harker: What do you mean, Kayla?

Ludarac: The house hates our family.

James: Objection, Your Honor.

J: Approach.

[Counsels approach bench]

J: I have decided to allow Ms. Ludarac to continue. Her credibility will be at the jury’s discretion. Please continue, Mr. Harker.

Harker: What is wrong with your house, Kayla?

Ludarac: It’s haunted. Everyone knows it.

Harker: How do you know it’s haunted?

Ludarac: Ever since we’ve lived there, we’ve been miserable. Before we lived there, Lucy was different.

Harker: How so?

Ludarac: She was good. She always did her homework. She never swore. She practically raised Cooper as much as Mom did.

Harker: And then you moved to the house. What happened then?

Ludarac: Lucy changed. Mom and Dad said she was just growing up, but Mom only said that because Dad did. Lucy started yelling at them all the time. She started staying out late and drinking. She didn’t want to be around Cooper any more. She was just not the same.

Harker: Was she the only one who changed?

Ludarac: [Shakes head] No. I changed too.

Harker: How?

Ludarac: I was angry at Dad more, and I didn’t want to be around Cooper either. When we were out of the house, I was fine, but when we were home, I just didn’t like them.

Harker: What about your father. Did he change?

Ludarac: [Nods head] He started treating Mom, Lucy and me different.

Harker: How so?

Ludarac: It was like he looked down on us or something, like we weren’t up to his standard. He talked down to us. Mom just did everything he said, but Lucy got mad. She told me once that she wanted to take the axe from the garage and kill him.

Harker: And this sort of thing only happened inside the house, correct?

Ludarac: Yes.

Harker: And you believe the house cut you.

Ludarac: Yes.

Harker: Thank you Kayla. Nothing further.

James: The prosecution rests, Your Honor.

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